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Top Stories 2016: Costello pleads guilty


Greenport businessman John Costello, who was accused of causing a fatal car crash while driving drunk in 2014, pleaded guilty Nov. 3 to vehicular manslaughter as part of a plea deal, avoiding jail time.

Mr. Costello, 73, was sentenced to one year of interim probation to be followed by another five years’ probation, according to Suffolk County Judge Fernando Camacho. The sentencing came nearly two years after a Suffolk grand jury indicted Mr. Costello on the vehicular manslaughter charge.

The December 2014 crash occurred when Mr. Costello collided head-on with another vehicle. Bartolone Miguel, 34, of Peconic, a passenger in the other vehicle, died of injuries sustained in the crash. He worked at Pellegrini Vineyards and supported a wife and child in Guatemala.

An accident reconstruction showed the collision occurred in Mr. Costello’s lane of travel, the judge said during sentencing.

Mr. Costello was ordered to pay Mr. Miguel’s family during his six years of probation to compensate them for money the deceased had been sending home. He is also required to volunteer for 1,260 hours of community service at local organizations that assist Hispanic migrant workers.

In approving the plea deal, Judge Camacho noted Mr. Costello’s age and the fact that he has had no previous run-ins with law enforcement. He also said the Greenport community had sent in letters supporting Mr. Costello.

File photo: John Costello is led out of court in December 2014.